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Richard M. Ebeling

Member of: FEE Faculty Network

Dr. Richard M. Ebeling is the BB&T Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Free Enterprise Leadership at The Citadel, in Charleston, South Carolina.

Dr. Ebeling is recognized as one of the leading members of the Austrian School of Economics. He is the author of Monetary Central Planning and the State (Future of Freedom Foundation, 2015), Political Economy, Public Policy, and Monetary Economics: Ludwig von Mises and the Austrian Tradition (Routledge, 2010) and Austrian Economics and the Political Economy of Freedom (Edward Elgar, 2003), as well as the editor of the Selected Writings of Ludwig von Mises, 3-vols. (Liberty Fund, 2000, 2002, 2012).

He is also the co-editor of When We Are Free (Northwood University Press, 2014), an anthology of essays devoted to the moral, political and economic principles of the free society, and co-author of the five-volume, In Defense of Capitalism (…

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Richard M. Ebeling's Articles

How David Ricardo Became Wealthy and Wise

How did David Ricardo manage to retire in his early 40s?

- January 16, 2017

Malthus Predicted Penury on the Eve of Plenty

Joseph Schumpeter said that the actual pattern of birth rates with industrialization and urbanization accompanied by growth in food production suggested “a sort of Malthusianism in reverse.”

- January 10, 2017

How to Be a Light for Liberty in the New Year

At one point in his talk, Leonard Read asked that the lights be turned off in the classroom. In the darkness he slowly started to turn up the light of an electric candle that he held in his hand, asking us to notice how all eyes were drawn to it, however dim the illumination.

As the candle brightened, he pointed out that more and more of the darkness was pushed away into the corners, enabling us to see more clearly both the objects and the people in the room. 

If each of us learned more about liberty, we would become ever-brighter lights in the surrounding collectivist darkness of the society in which we lived. Our individually growing enlightenment through self-education and self-improvement would slowly but surely draw others to us who might also learn the importance of freedom.

- December 29, 2016

The 25th Anniversary of the End of the Soviet Union

The evil of the Soviet system is that it was not cruelty for cruelty’s sake. Rather, it was cruelty for a purpose – to make a new Soviet man and a new Soviet society. This required the destruction of everything that had gone before and entailed the forced creation of a new civilization, as conjured up in the minds of those who had appointed themselves the creators of this brave new world.

- December 19, 2016

The Timeless Wisdom of Adam Smith

Adam Smith taught us how commerce transforms societies. Government impositions into the process can only do harm.

- December 17, 2016

Adam Smith’s Air of Paradox

Adam Smith explained how and why government need not and cannot successfully direct the trading patterns of nations better than the individual citizens of these countries can do.

- December 12, 2016

David Hume Believed in the Miracle of Commerce

“Were our narrow and malignant politics to meet with success, we should reduce all our neighboring nations to the same state of sloth and ignorance that prevails in Morocco and the coast of Barbary. But what would be the consequences? They would send us no commodities; They could take none from us; Our domestic commerce itself would languish for want of emulation, example and instruction. And we ourselves should soon fall into the same abject condition, to which we had reduced them.

“I shall therefore venture to acknowledge that, not only as a man, but as a British subject, I pray for the flourishing commerce of Germany, Spain, Italy, and even France itself. I am at least certain, that Great Britain, and all those nations would flourish more, did their sovereigns and ministers adopt such enlarged and benevolent sentiments towards each other.”

- December 06, 2016

Adam Ferguson and the Spontaneous Order of Society

Adam Ferguson, an influential thinker in the Scottish enlightment, gave us some of our clearest descriptions of how spontaneous order creates and guides the evolution of social institutions.

- November 26, 2016

Francis Hutcheson and a System of Natural Liberty

Francis Hutcheson was a prominent philosopher and teacher during the Scottish enlightenment. His classically liberal views on the importance of division of labor, the role of private property, and the normative notion of a free society were deeply influential on Adam Smith and countless others.

- November 22, 2016

Thanksgiving Was a Triumph of Capitalism over Collectivism

Two years of communism had left alive only a fraction of the original Plymouth colonists. Unable to survive another season like the last two, the elders decided to try something radically different: the introduction of private property rights and the right of the individual families to keep the fruits of their own labor.

- November 21, 2016

The Fable of the Bees Tells the Story of Society

Bernard Mandeville taught us that self-interest and the desire for material well-being, commonly stigmatized as vices, are in fact the incentives that make prosperity and civilization possible.

- November 15, 2016

Inflation, Price Controls, and Collectivism During the French Revolution

When governments find it impossible to raise taxes or borrowing funds, they print paper money to finance their growing expenditures. The resulting inflations ruin economies and bring revolution and tyranny. The political economy of the French Revolution is a tragic example of this.

- November 09, 2016

The Early Economists Who Tried to Save France

Central to their critique of the regulatory state of their time was insistence that there was a “natural order” to things in the social world as much as in the physical world.

- October 31, 2016

Free Markets Refine Good Manners

The humility of the marketplace, no matter how strongly confident the individual businessmen may be in their own ideas and abilities, is that no one has sufficient knowledge and forethought to successfully “pick winners” and “avoid losers” for the good of society as a whole.

- October 28, 2016

Why Enterprise Is an Honorable Calling

Wherever the forces of free-market capitalism have been set freest, the most dramatic strides have been made in abolishing the worst and most squalid material conditions of mankind. Yet the political and cultural climate virtually everywhere around the globe is one of anti-business and anti-capitalism.

- October 27, 2016

Mercantilism Was Monarchy's Planned Economy

"The smuggler is a radical and judicious reformer. The smuggler is essential to the well being of the whole nation. All external commerce depends on him." - Nassau Senior (1790-1864)

- October 26, 2016

What the Greatest Catholic Philosopher Had to Say about Private Property

The questions asked by Church thinkers about economic activities concerned “justice.” That is, had a man acted “justly” towards his Christian “brothers” as Church doctrine proscribed? But what was “just conduct” in men’s “economic” affairs?

- October 18, 2016

The Catholic Church's Complex, Fascinating Role in Medieval Society

The Catholic Church was the one institution in the Middle Ages that was outside of the Feudal Order. The Church may have formed alliances, made political compromises, and sanctioned conduct contrary to the spirit and the letter of the Church’s doctrine, but these were argued to be “expediencies” of the short-run so the Church might serve the long-run purpose for its existence – the salvation of souls before the final Day of Judgment.

- October 17, 2016

How Medieval Towns Paved the Way for Capitalism

In the urban areas of Medieval Europe we see the foundations for the modern age of capitalism, with its traditions and legal protections for individual rights, private property, and the emergence of an economic order in which each participant fulfills his own wants by serving others through production and trade – and an interdependency that naturally follows with an exchange-based system of division of labor.

- October 12, 2016

Lords and Serfs in Medieval Europe

Feudalism represented a system in which the occupants and users of the land they lived and worked on were not the owners; they were “tenants” of the “sovereign” – the Lord of the Manor – who legitimized his authority by claiming to offer protection to the occupants in the form of military service.

- October 11, 2016

How Roman Central Planners Destroyed Their Economy

Modern central-planning busybodies would do well to study ancient Roman history. Prosperity comes from free markets and the recognition of property rights.

- October 05, 2016

Anti-Commerce and Quietism in Ancient Rome

While Roman law was laying the foundation for a society of contract and exchange, Roman philosophers were following a different path. Their philosophy was tinged by what has sometimes been called “quietism,” that is, the belief that one should adjust to the circumstances that one finds oneself in, and accepts it as good and inevitable during one’s life.

- October 04, 2016

The Roman Road to Universal Rights

The main contribution of the Romans was the legal order upon which Western economic traditions of property and exchange were largely founded.

- October 03, 2016

Aristotle Understood the Importance of Property

The great philosopher was less sound on the economics of commerce.

- September 27, 2016

Plato's Command-and-Control Utopia

Plato's utopia had scant room for individual freedom.

- September 23, 2016

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